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Plagiarism Workshop: Policy and Procedure

This guides addresses plagiarism in a number of ways. Primarily it serves to educate in-coming students on what constitutes plagiarism and informs them of the policies and procedures for those students accused of acts of plagiarism.

Definition

Kent State Univesity defines plagiarism as:

“To take and present as one's own a material portion of the ideas or words of another or to present as one's own an idea or work derived from an existing source without full and proper credit to the source of the ideas, words, or works.”

Kent State's administrative policy on student cheating and plagiarism can be found in its policy register:

http://www.kent.edu/policyreg/administrative-policy-regarding-student-cheating-and-plagiarism

If You Are Accused

If you are accused of plagiarizing, you should expect the following:

  1. Your instructor informs you verbally or in writing that he/she suspects you of plagiarizing
    (Often this occurs at the time an assignment, such as a research paper, is handed back and instead of a grade there is note such as "See Me" written at the top of the paper)
  2. Your instructor provides you with an opportunity to explain orally or in writing why you believe you did not plagiarize. Since you may be taken aback by the unforeseen accusation, you may be tempted to simply argue with the instructor. Instead, consider requesting some time to take the assignment home and try to understand why your are being accused of plagiarizing. Then if you still believe you did not do anything wrong, consider writing a response to the charge and presenting it to your instructor.
  3. If your instructor still believes you plagiarized he/she may impose 1 of these 3 sanctions. Keep in mind that typically by the time an instructor accuses a student, he or she may have already gathered information and is unlikely to be swayed by the student's response. Here are the sanctions an instructor may impose for a student accused of plagiarizing:
    1. Refuse to accept the work for credit (the student would have to do the work over from scratch in order to have it count towards his or her final grade)
    2. Give an F or zero to the student for that assignment
    3. Fail the student for the entire course

There are no guidelines for applying a sanction. It is up to the instructor to decide how severely to penalize the student. In addition to the sanction, the instructor will inform the Office of Student Conduct using an online form of his/her decision to sanction a student for plagiarizing. The instructor can also recommend that further action be taken by requesting that the student's dean investigate degree-related sanctions and/or that the Academic Hearing Panel consider disciplinary sanctions. If that happens and it is determined that more action is needed, the penalties could increase and the student could be removed from his or her academic degree program (major) and possibly even be dismissed from the university.

For first time offenders, students who commit a less-egregious act of plagiarism are sometimes asked to attend "Plagiarism School," discussed later in this guide. For repeat offenders (anyone previously sanctioned for plagiarism and not successful in removing the sanction by appealing) every subsequent sanction for plagiarism will result in a hearing before the Academic Hearing Panel, where all sanctions, including disciplinary sanctions, are considered.

Once the instructor decides, the instructor completes the online form that indicates the chosen sanction and whether or not more severe sanctions be considered.  The form is sent to the Office of Student Conduct.  That office communicates with the student about the sanction and the student's right to appeal.

If You Appeal

It is extremely important for students to realize that at the point they are informed of their sanction by the Office of Student Conduct all decisions have been made by the instructor. If a student feels that he or she has been unjustly sanctioned, or feels that the sanction applied by the instructor was too severe, the ONLY course of action is to Appeal.

Appeals must be made within 15 class days (days the university holds classes, except for weekends) of receiving the notice of sanction from the Office of Student Conduct. If students decide not to appeal or wait longer then the 15 days allowed, they are stuck with the sanction. If a student does appeal he or she must write a letter to the Office of Student Conduct (119 Twin Towers, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242). The Office of Student Conduct will forward the appeal to the Academic Hearing Panel. The panel will facilitate the appeal as follows:

  1. A hearing will be scheduled where the instructor must prove you plagiarized. The instructor's accusation is not enough to retain the sanction. There must be as the policy describes "a preponderance of the evidence" that the student plagiarized.
  2. You and the instructor can call witnesses and cross exam each other. Although this is a quasi judicial process, neither side can be represented by legal counsel.
  3. The Academic Hearing Panel will make a decision and send it to all parties involved within 7 days after the conclusion of the hearing

The policy does allow any party involved to appeal decisions of the Academic Hearing Panel. Please refer to the official policy for those details.

See Me